Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Adelaide University
Adelaide University / Adelaide University

Snake Swallows Salad Tongs

Aaron Rouse of Adelaide, Australia, was feeding his python Winston a rat held with a pair of salad tongs. The snake decided he wanted all of it- including the tongs. Rouse tried to pull the tongs out, but Winston would not let go. Before you know it, the tongs were completely inside! Rouse took Winston to the veterinary department at Adelaide University where Dr. Oliver Funnell decided to perform surgery. He made a small incision close to the big end of the tongs and pulled them out easily. The surgery was a success and Winston is expected to recover completely. 

Microwave Oven Baffled Astronomers for Decades

Astronomers at the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia, have been noticing strange signals coming through the radio telescope since 1998. These signals were designated as perytons, and were observed maybe twice a year. No one knew where they were coming from, but lightning was proposed as the cause. Of course, we’d all prefer it to be aliens. A new receiver installed this year picked those signals up even stronger at 2.4GHz, which led the scientists to suspect the facility’s microwave oven.

Immediate testing of the oven failed to detect any perytons -- until they opened the microwave door a few seconds before it had finished cooking. Johnston told The Guardian: "If you set it to heat and pull it open to have a look, it generates interference." Although the telescope, known locally as "The Dish", is operated largely remotely, a few operational staff who maintain the facility would use the microwave oven to heat their lunch in the daytimes. Moreover, the interference would only occur when the telescope was pointed in the oven's direction, making the cause even harder to pinpoint. The findings have been published in the notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

So much for aliens trying to contact us. But it’s nice that the 17-year mystery has been solved

Michigan Family Welcomes 13th Son

Jay and Kateri Schwandt decided not to learn the sex of their unborn baby, and instead let it be a surprise at birth. The Schwandts, of Rockford, Michigan, already had 12 sons. Wednesday morning, Kateri gave birth to their 13th son. They have no daughters. Jay Schwandt said he’d wanted a girl, but was happy with another boy. Kateri said she wanted another boy because “that’s in her comfort zone.” They haven’t decided what to name the new son, but said the rest of the boys will have to agree on a name.

Man Sneezes Out Toy He Inhaled Over 40 Years Ago

Steve Easton, from Camberley, Surrey, UK, underwent a sneezing fit and felt something odd in his nose. He expelled a piece of rubber that concerned him. He asked his 77-year-old mother about it, and she recalled an event from his childhood. When Steve was seven or eight years old, he was taken to a hospital because his mother thought he had swallowed a rubber sucker from the end of toy dart. X-rays showed nothing, because they were looking at his stomach. The sucker had apparently lodged itself in his nasal cavity and stayed there 43 years! Easton was quite surprised, as he’d never had any trouble smelling or blowing his nose in the years since.

World’s Loudest Cat Crowned

A 13-year-old cat from Torquay, Devon, UK, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the loudest purr. Tracy Westwood and her daughter Alice adopted Merlin from a shelter, and said he always had a loud purr.

Speaking of her record-breaking pet, Tracy said: “Occasionally when he’s really loud I have to repeat myself. When you’re watching films you have to turn the telly up or put him out of the room, if he’s eating he’ll purr loudly. I can hear him when I’m drying my hair.

In front of judges from Guinness, Merlin purred at 67.8 decibels, as loud as an air conditioner. Westwood said he had been measured at 100 decibels on other occasions. 

Son Loses Bidding on Late Father’s Police Car

Weld County (Colorado) Deputy Sam Brownlee was killed in the line of duty in 2010. His son Tanner was 15 years old at the time. In 2015, Brownlee’s Dodge Charger squad car, which was retired after his death, was put up for auction by the sheriff’s department. At the auction on Wednesday, Tanner kept bidding, but was outbid by a stranger. The book value on the car was $12,500, but it eventually sold for $60,000 to Steve Wells, a local rancher unknown to Tanner. Proceeds went to a fund that helps dependents of officers killed in the line of duty.

Tanner was disappointed that he couldn’t buy his dad’s car. But when the auctioneer handed the keys to Mr. Wells, Wells turned around and gave them to Tanner. The car was a gift.